TRAI tariff regime implemented by the DTH regulator brought many changes on the backend of the industry by changing prices of channels, bouquets and applying a different regulatory structure altogether. The regulator imposed new laws to guarantee proper choices to subscribers. The aim of the new tariff regime implemented by TRAI was to provide the subscribers with full rights to choose what they want to watch and pay only for these channels. However, even though the new tariff regime gifted this flexibility to the subscribers, it also caused a lot of controversy regarding increased prices of channels and monthly subscriptions
In a new consultation paper, TRAI has talked about the areas that it is looking forward to patch up in the coming days. The regulator has also invited comments from stakeholders on this consultation paper.
TRAI’s Consultation Paper traces the timeline of the new tariff regime and establishes the premise as to why the regulator had to bring in new rules in the first place. The subscribers used to pay a lot for individual channels as compared to the bundled channels. These bundled channels further used to come with a lot of unnecessary channels which were not required by the subscribers. This used to hinder the choice of subscribers. With the new tariff regime, TRAI places the channel choices back into the hands of the subscribers.
TRAI posed questions to stakeholders like whether or not flexibility available to broadcasters to give discount on sum of a-la-carte channels forming part of bouquets has been misused to push their channels to subscribers or whether some broadcasters have indulged in heavy discounting of bouquets by taking advantage of non-implementation of 15% cap on discount.
The regulator is going to invite comments on whether or not there is a need to review the cap on discount permissible to DPOs while forming the bouquet and what could be an appropriate methodology for it.